Students Compete to Spell Their Way to Washington

2019 Spelling Bee top three spellersOn Feb. 19, 36 spellers from south central Minnesota competed in the South Central Service Cooperative Regional Spelling Bee, a qualifier for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The participating fifth through eighth grade students had previously won their local bees.

After 11 rounds, Alayna Vogel, an eighth-grade student from Le Sueur-Henderson Public Schools, was named champion after correctly spelling “alliteration” as her championship word.

Vogel was awarded a plaque, spelling supplement, mint coin set, a one-year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online, a one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online, and travel expenses and accommodations to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. 

Caden Lebert, an eighth grader from Fairmont Jr./Sr. High, misspelled “ampere” in round 11 to finish in second place. Third place Drew Hutchens from Prairie Winds Middle School in Mankato exited the bee in round 10 on “origami.”

The SCSC bee was made possible by generous sponsorships from South Central Service Cooperative, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, North Mankato Civic & Commerce Association, Glen A. Taylor Foundation, The Free Press, Mankato Walmart, Fairmont Rotary, Hexico Academic, iStar Financial, Merriam-Webster, Encyclopedia Britannica and Jay Sugarman. 

In addition to improving students’ spelling skills and increasing their vocabularies, spelling bee participation provides valuable experience in developing poise—a necessary skill for success in public speaking, performing arts and athletics.

Full spelling bee results:
1st – Alayna Vogel, Le Sueur-Henderson Middle School
2nd – Caden Lebert, Fairmont Jr./Sr. High School
3rd – Drew Hutchens, Prairie Winds Middle School
4th – Jacqueline Barrera, St. James Secondary
5th (tie) – Ava Schubbe, Sleepy Eye Public Schools
                Dominick Lund-May, St. John Vianney School
                Eli Stoll, St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran
6th – Aiden Penner, Mountain Lake Public School
7th – Tom Schmidberger, New Prague Middle School
8th (tie) – Quinn Kelly, Loyola Catholic School
                Dakota Meadows, Most Holy Redeemer Catholic School
                Spencer Eggen, Nicollet Public Schools
9th (tie) – Jenna Domas, Bridges Community Elementary
                Kainyana Xayaphonesongkham, Butterfield-Odin Public School
                Samantha Wondra, Cleveland Public Schools
                Anton Domeier, NRHEG Secondary
                Jocelyn Balfanz, Raven Stream Elementary School
                Ava Davis, St. Clair Public School
                Hayden Winter, Tri-City United Schools
                Gracie Zaharia, Truman Public School
10th (tie) – Mandy Pytleski, Granada-Huntley-East Chain Schools
                Isaiah Rogotzke, St. Paul’s Lutheran School
                Katelyn Sirek, St. Wenceslaus School
                Cara Adams, TEAM Academy
11th (tie) – Grace Winterfeldt, Comfrey Public School
                Jonah Zhao, Dakota Meadows Middle School
                Joshua Walders, Fairmont Elementary School
                Riley Schuch, Falcon Ridge Elementary School
                Kaden Baker, Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton
                Abigail Berg, Maple River Middle School
                Brock Carlson, New Ulm Area Catholic Schools
                Ainsley Schieffer, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown

Also qualifying but not able to participate: Avern Lin, Eagle View Elementary School; Jaxon Libby, Immanuel Lutheran School; Cambree Crooker, Madelia Elementary; Liv Borchardt, Martin County West Junior High